Intercollegiate Athletics

 

One of the finest athletic records by any college or university in the country was posted by the Air Force Academy during the 1974-75 school year. Falcon athletes won 73.9 percent of their contests, the best winning percentage in the school’s history. Counting varsity, junior varsity and freshman teams, the 31-team overall mark consisted of 298 victories, only 104 losses and 4 ties.

Over the past seven years, Academy athletes won 70.3 percent of their contests, one of the top winning marks in the nation.

 

Seven-Year Record

Year Won Lost Tied Percent
1968-69 269 116 1 69.8
1969-70 275 98 3 73.5
1970-71 239 128 3 65.0
1971-72 258 125 3 66.8
1972-73 262 112 1 70.0
1973-74 289 112 2 72.0
1974-75 298 104 4 73.9

Four teams paced this year’s outstanding record with undefeated seasons. Pistol had a 22-0 mark, swimming 12-0, golf 10-0 and indoor track 9-0. Three other teams were almost perfect. Rifle was 18-1, wrestling 10-1-1, and outdoor track 4-1.

Five teams won regional titles, headed by water polo which captured the national collegiate district seven championships. Rifle and pistol along with golf and lacrosse were also regional champions. The top team achievement during the year was posted by the Pistol Team, which won the national collegiate conventional title, its second straight national team title.

A world record and a national collegiate mark fell to Academy athletes during the school year. The Falcon’s 240-yard shuttle hurdles relay team of T.G. Parker, Joe Kahiapo, Ahart Powers and dick McIntosh set a world indoor mark of 27.6 in February. Dave Lawson accounted for the national collegiate record, when he kicked 19 field goals last fall. His 60-yard field goal against Colorado equaled the second longest ever kicked in major collegiate football history.

Four new head coaches were appointed by Colonel Merritt for the 1975 school year. They were Capt Jim Thames, soccer; John Matchefts, ice hockey; Capt Bill Markham, lacrosse; and Maj Gene Miranda, golf. Matchefts replaced the retired Vic Heyliger. Bill Baldrica joined the Falcon staff as assistant ice hockey coach.

 


 

Team Summaries

 

Football

Air Force wound up one of the most frustrating seasons in school history with a 2-9 record, falling to nationally ranked Notre Dame in the season's finale. Of the nine losses, one was by seven points, two by four-point margins, one by three points, one by two points and two games, Colorado and Army were one-point losses. This losing season broke a six-season winning streak. The 1974 football record:

Air Force Opponent Score
37 Idaho* 0
23 Oregon 27
16 Wyoming 20
27 Colorado* 28
3 Tulane* 10
19 Navy* 16
3 Rutgers 20
10 Bringham Young* 12
16 Army 17
23 Arizona* 27
0 Notre Dame 38
*Home Games

On the plus side Air Force defeated Navy 19-16 on a four field goal performance by Dave Lawson, who earned All-American for his kicking exploits. He was the team’s leading scorer for the second straight year with 70 points and also started as a linebacker on defense.

Sophomore tailback, Ken Wood, was the leading rusher with 708 yards while junior quarterback Mike Worden paced the passers with 798 yards. The top pass receiver was senior Bob Farr with 32 catches for 467 yards and four touchdowns. Senior Mike Mark led the team in punt and kickoff returns. Defensively, senior tackle Terry Young and junior rover Ray Wild each had 123 tackles for a tie for the team lead.

Top individual single game performance records are shown below for the 1974 season.

Most Carries – 32, Ken Wood vs. Army
Most Rushing Yardage – 111, Ken Wood vs. Army
Longest Run – 44 yards, Ken Vaughn vs. Wyoming
Most Passing Attempts – 29, Mike Worden vs. Colorado
Most Passing Completed – 16, Rob Shaw vs. Brigham Young
Most Passing Yardage – 226, Rob Shaw vs. Brigham Young
Most Touchdown Passes – 2, Ken Vaughn vs. Wyoming
Longest Pass – 47 yards, Rob Shaw to Bob Farr vs. Brigham Young
Most Passes Received – 10, Bob Farr vs. Brigham Young
Most Pass Receiving Yardage – 117, Bob Farr vs. Brigham Young
Most Punts – 10, Frank Foster vs. Notre Dame
Best Punting Average – 42.5 yards, Dave Lawson vs. Wyoming
Longest Punt – 66 yards, Tom Lange vs. Colorado
Most Field Goals Attempted – 5, Dave Lawson vs. Navy
Most Field Goals Completed – 4, Dave Lawson vs. Navy (Ties School Record)
Longest Field Goal – 60 yards, Dave Lawson vs. Colorado (School Record)
Longest Punt Return – 28 yards, Jim Miller vs. Tulane
Longest Kickoff Return – 35 yards, Craig Adams vs. Oregon
Longest Pass Interception – 28 yards, Mike Mark vs. Brigham Young
Most Tackles – 21, Mark Kenney vs. Navy
Most Fumble Recoveries – 2, Doug Kupersmith vs. Idaho

 

 

 
 
 
 

Varsity Coach Freshman Coach Team Captains Officer Representative

Ben Martin

James Bowman Larry Fariss Col Marcos Kinevan
    Terry Young  

Cross Country

Hard work made it possible for the cross country team to end its season with a 4-3 season, its third straight winning season. The harriers posted wins over Wyoming, Northern Colorado, Colorado State and Adams State. Two of the three losses were by close margins, 26-29 to Idaho and 28-29 to Northern Iowa. Heading the team were seniors Jamie Blissit and Pat Rupel, two of the top runners last fall. Junior Jeff Ford finished in the top 10 in each of the seven dual meets and was the first Air Force runner to finish in the Central Collegiate Conference Championships, placing 39th.

Win / Loss / Tie Record:   4 / 3 / 0

 


Varsity Coach Junior Varsity Coach Team Captain Officer Representative

Arne Arnesen

Capt Robert Lambert Patrick Rupel Lt Col Gerald Jagrowski

Soccer

Air Force closed its 1974 season by taking second in the Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Soccer League with a 4-2 mark and a final 4-5-2 record. First-year coach Jim Thames had three players selected for post-season honors. Heading the list was two-time All-America and all time leading scorer Len Salvemini, who played for the West Squad at the Senior Bowl game in Orlando, Florida. He was also named to the 1975 U.S. Pan American team and the 1976 U.S. Olympic team. Salvemini ended a four-year career with the most career goals, 65; most goals in a season, 23 (1973); and most goals in a single game, 6.

Jack Shine, a four-year letterman, joined Salvemini in the RMISL first team and teammate Greg Schulze, a freshman goalie, who recorded 74 saves, was selected to the second team. Air Force played Navy to a 1-1 tie, and registered a 7-0 win over RMISL champion Colorado College.

Win / Loss / Tie Record:   4 / 5 / 2

 

Varsity Coach Junior Varsity Coach Team Captain Officer Representative
Capt James Thames Capt Robert Judas Leonard Salvemini Maj Thomas Jeter

Water Polo

“Best Ever” appropriately described the 1974 water polo team. Paced by the scoring punch of Ben Phillips, the squad posted a 20-6 mark, won the District Seven title and a berth for the first time in the National Collegiate Championships where the Falcons lost all three games. The team won three tournament titles during the season. Phillips, who earned four varsity letters, led the team in scoring for three seasons and in four years collected 441 points, 338 goals and 103 assists, all school records. Junior Bill Monroe led the team in goals scored with 73, while junior goalie Walt Heidmous led the team with 5.9 saves per game average.

Win / Loss / Tie Record:   20 / 6 / 0


Varsity Coach Junior Varsity Coach Team Captain Officer Representative
Maj R. Pasieczny   Benjamin Phillips, Jr. Col Robert Lamb

Basketball

The roundballers finished strong, winning their last three games from California-Irvine, Western State and Denver University and wound up the season with a 13-12 winning effort. For the third straight year, the Falcons were nationally ranked on defense. By surrendering only 63.0 points per game, they finished eighth in the national team rankings. Highlight of the season was a 90-66 home victory over 15th ranked Pan American, that entered the contest with an 18-game winning streak.

The team’s top scorer was senior guard Dan Kraft, who scored 407 points for a 16.3 points-per-game average. Kraft also set school records for best free throw shooting in a career and in a season. He set a school free throw mark by making 116 of 138 for an 84.1 percent average, easily breaking the old mark of 80.2 set by John Judd in the 1960s. This year Kraft made 83 of 95 free throws for an 87.4 percent average, a statistic that place him fifth in the nation. Senior forward Jim Eken was the top rebounder with 145 for a 5.8 average; junior Mike Sevier was the top shooter from the field with a 49.5 percent average.

Win / Loss / Tie Record:   13 /12 / 0

 

Varsity Coaches Junior Varsity Coaches Team Captain Officer Representative
Maj Henry Egan Capt Fred Budinger Daniel Kraft Col Robert Lochry
Maj William Minton 2nd Lt Rich Nickelson    

Ice Hockey

One of the best records in the nation and certainly the best in Academy history was posted by the 1975 team, which had a 24-5-1 mark. The Falcons had a 17-1 home record and a 10-game winning streak. Highlights included a victory against national power New Hampshire and two wins over Colorado College 1-0 (when Colorado college was ranked fifth nationally) and a later 7-6 win in overtime. Air Force saw its national play-off hopes dashed, when they dropped their last two games to nationally ranked Bowling Green.

Sophomore Chuck Delich was once again one of the top scorers nationally, leading the team with 64 points, including 38 goals. Senior Marco Mellum was second with 51 points while the top assistman was senior Gerry Micheletti with 36. Micheletti was named the Academy’s Most Valuable Athlete this year. Another top defender was senior goalie Al Morrison, who was in the net during the shutout over Colorado College.

Win / Loss / Tie Record:   24 / 5 / 1

 

Varsity Coaches Junior Varsity Coach Team Captain Officer Representative
John Matchefts   Gerald Micheletti Maj Lloyd Woodman, Jr.
William Baldrica      

Fencing

Coach Nick Toth guided fencing to its 19th straight winning season with a 10-2 mark, including a 14-13 win over Army. The Falcons placed second in the Western Intercollegiate Championships for the second straight year, but had an individual champion in Russ Newland, who won the foil title. He later competed in the national, placing 15th. The squad also won the Western Intercollegiate sabre competition. Team Captain Karl Gabrys won an individual sabre title in the Colorado Invitational held at the Academy. Senior Dan Hanifen was third in epee. Derrick Spott posted the best regular season record on the team with a 31-4 mark in foil.

Win / Loss / Tie Record:   10 / 2 / 0

 
 

Varsity Coach Junior Varsity Coach Team Captain Officer Representative
Nicholas Toth   Karl Gabrys, Jr. Lt Col Wayne Jefferson

Gymnastics

One of the youngest teams in Falcon sports, the gymnasts still posted a 10-9 winning season and sent three athletes to the national championships. The Falcons placed sixth in the Western Independent Championships, with team captain Bruce Edstrom placing second in the still rings, and Tim O’Connell and Kirk Stephens placing second and third, respectively, in the pommel horse. The team also placed fifth in the 11-team Titan Invitational in Wisconsin. Edstrom posted the highest average on the team with an 8.8 in the still rings.

Win / Loss / Tie Record:   10 / 9 / 0

 

Varsity Coach Junior Varsity Coach Team Captain Officer Representative
Lt Col K. Schwenzfeier   Bruce Edstrom Col John Wittry

Indoor Track

An eighth straight winning season, a perfect 9-0 dual meet record, and a first time national ranking (20th) were some of the highlights for the indoor track team. The hurdlers turned in consistently strong performances. The quartet of T.G. Parker, Joe Kahiapo, Ahart Powers and Dick McIntosh first won the 240-yard shuttle hurdles at the Michigan State Relays, then later set an American indoor record for the event at 27.6, breaking the old record of 28.4 set by Notre Dame in 1971.

Powers also set a school record for the 60-yard high hurdles at 7.0 while Kahiapo lowered the school mark in the 60-yard low hurdles to 6.7. Sophomore Mark Webster also set a school mark with his 1:10.4 in the 600 and junior Joe Shirey several times tied the 60-yard dash record of 6.2. Competing in the national collegiate indoor championships were Parker, Powers, Kahiapo and McIntosh in the 60 high hurdles, Webster in the 600, and the one-mile relay team of Mark Modrich, Bill Lee, Mike Ryan and Webster.

Win / Loss / Tie Record:   9 / 0 / 0

 

Varsity Coaches Junior Varsity Coach Team Captain Officer Representative
Arne Arnesen Capt Robert Lambert Richard McIntosh Maj James McCormack
1st Lt James Scott      

Pistol

Pistol won a second straight national title, had an individual national champion, and four All-America selections in a season that produced a 22-0 record, the most wins in Academy history. The team remained undefeated in 51 straight dual matches. The Falcons won the national collegiate conventional title with an 1132 score which topped second place Army’s 1118 and Navy’s 1117.

Senior Stan Siefke won the conventional national collegiate individual title with an 862 out of a possible 900. Siefke, along with team captain Chris Goetsch, Bob Kleinhans and Joseph Zahrobsky earned All-America honors, which raises the team total to 53 All-America winners, the most for any sport in Academy history.

TSgt Bobby Tiner, team coach, was the top shooter of the U.S. team that won the first aggregate championship of the International Sports Military Council held in Oulu, Sweden. Scoring 589 in the centerfire to tie for third place, Tiner fell to fifth in the shootoff.

Win / Loss / Tie Record:   18 / 1 / 0

 

Varsity Coach Junior Varsity Coach Team Captain Officer Representative
TSgt Bobby Tiner   Chris Goetsch Maj James Eaton

Rifle

Rifle had one of its best seasons with an 18-1 record. The season included a first-place finish in the Colorado Mines Invitational, the Air Force Invitational and the individual and team three-positional sectionals held at the Academy. The team also placed third in the Nevada Silver State Invitational. The closest match was a2740-2739 win over Army, the first victory in three seasons over an Army rifle squad. Joe O’Brien, the team’s top shooter, was high scorer in 14 matches.

Win / Loss / Tie Record:   12 / 0 / 0

 

Varsity Coach Junior Varsity Coach Team Captain Officer Representative
MSgt David Iverson   James Heald Maj Howard Epstein

Swimming

A third straight undefeated season and diver Rick McAlister’s seventh All-America selection were two of the highlights of the 1974-75 year. Air Force finished 12-0 for the season, a 37 straight dual meet record, and a 57 straight home dual meet.

McAlister, who was named the team’s most valuable swimmer for the second straight year, finished sixth in one-meter diving competition at the national collegiate championships to ear his seventh All-America award. During his four years at the Academy, he posted a 94-0 record in one- and three-meter dual meet competition.

Individual records set during the season included Steve Tibbits with a 53.8 in the 100 backstroke; Jim Hogue with a 21.36 in the 50 freestyle; and McAlister with 349.30 points in the three-meter dive. Team records included the 400 medley relay team with a 3:34.56 and the 400 freestyle relay team with a 3:09.34. Three individuals competed in the nationals, including McAlister in the one- and three-meter diving events, Tibbits in the 100 backstroke, and Bill Marshall in the 100 breaststroke.

Win / Loss / Tie Record:   12 / 0 / 0

 

Varsity Coaches Junior Varsity Coach Team Captain Officer Representative
Lt Col Paul Arata Capt Christopher Curtis Frederic Offutt Col Robert Thomas
Capt M. King, Diving      

Wrestling

One of the most improved teams this year was wrestling which improved from last year’s 6-5 record to 10-1-1, the best record in five years. A 17-15 upset of nationally ranked Wyoming was the season’s highlight. Pacing the matmen was Bob Orwig, who won All-America honors by placing fifth in the 190-pound class at the national intercollegiates. Orwig had a 5-2 record in the nationals but wound up with a 27-6 season record and a career record of 45-26-1. Steve Campbell at 177 and heavyweight Al Nuytten also competed in the nationals.

The season was also coach Karl Kitt’s last, as he ended an 18-year career, compiling a record of 112-80-2, one of the highest winning totals by any Academy coach.

Win / Loss / Tie Record:   10 / 1 / 0

 

Varsity Coaches Junior Varsity Coach Team Captain Officer Representative
Karl Kitt   Robert Orwig Maj Warren Glenn
Capt Harold Koerber      

Baseball

The Falcons closed the season with two wins over Western State to finish 16-18 for the season. Powerful hitting was again a trademark as Air Force scored its most runs, 298; collected its most hits, 370; and broke the RBI record with 233. The team batting average of 313, the best percentage since 1964, was one of the best in the nation.

Individually, Jeff Brown led the team for the third straight season with a .419 batting average and also set career RBI and home run records with 88 and 28, respectively. Senior Jim Corrigan set three records including the most home runs in one game at 3. He also hit three round trippers in one game twice during the season. Dave Bunker finished second in batting with .408, earned District Seven second team mention as a designated hitter, and led the team in doubles with 11 and triples with 3.

Win / Loss / Tie Record:   16 / 18 / 0

 

Varsity Coaches Junior Varsity Coach Team Captain Officer Representative
Capt Joe Robison Capt Ronald Hudak Brian Duffy Maj Joseph Morgan, II
Capt Donald Motz      

Golf

Another strong golf squad posted a 10-0 mark. The team captured the Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Golf Association (RMIGA) team and individual titles and also placed in nine other tournaments throughout the season. The Falcons were fourth in the tough Brigham Young Cougar Classic and finished second in the RMIGA tournament held at the Academy. Team captain, Jeff Sogard, who competed in the NCAA championships, compiled the lowest competitive stroke average for the season with 76.5. Chip Diehl, the only senior on the squad, had the lowest stroke average in the RMIGA competition with a 74.9. Diehl also recorded the lowest round of the season, a 69.

Win / Loss / Tie Record:   10 / 0 / 0

 

Varsity Coaches Junior Varsity Coach Team Captain Officer Representative
Maj Eugene Miranda Capt Richard Ellis Jeffrey Sogard, '76 Col Walace Fluhr
Capt Carl Townsend      

Lacrosse

Much of the record book was rewritten this year with Bill Woolford setting five individual records and tying another. As a team the Falcons won their seventh Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate title with an 8-0 record and finished the season with a 10-2 mark, including a 10-7 win against Duke University in the Hero’s Tournament, held in Durham, North Carolina. The team’s only two losses came at the hands of nationally ranked Maryland, 13-6, and Baltimore University, 14-9.

Two of the record setters were Woolford with the most points in a season, 98, and Kip Peterson, most saves during a career, 523. Woolford also holds the record for most goals in a game, 9; most points in a game, 15; most assists in a season, 47; and most career goals, 120.

Win / Loss / Tie Record:   10 / 2 / 0

 

Varsity Coaches Junior Varsity Coach Team Captain Officer Representative
Capt W. Markham, Jr. Capt Norman Rathje Carl Peterson Lt Col Richard Gowen
Capt Philip Pignataro Maj Thomas Pilsch    

Tennis

Tennis recorded its winningest season with an 18-7 mark as all six singles players finished with a winning record. Heading the list was Steve Skidmore with a 19-4 record; number three man Ric Sharp had a 15-7 record, and number one player Scott Benson finished 12-10. In doubles, numerous combinations were tried with the best pairing being Sharp and Skidmore for a 7-2 record. The squad posted a 10-2 home record and an 8-5 road record. Benson and Skidmore both competed in the national collegiate championships.

Win / Loss / Tie Record:   18 / 7 / 0

 

Varsity Coaches Junior Varsity Coach Team Captain Officer Representative
Capt Richard Gugat Capt David Spires Eric Sharp Col William Jarrell, Jr
Capt Charles Patton      

Outdoor Track

The hurdlers again set the pace during the outdoor season. The 480-yard shuttle hurdles relay team of T.G. Parker, Fred Whitican, Ahart Powers, and Dick McIntosh won the Drake Relays title in 56.3 one of the fastest times ever run for the event and a school record.

The thinclads also won the Ohio State Relays shuttle hurdles with the quartet of Parker, Kahiapo, Powers, and McIntosh. McIntosh claimed another school record when he ran 13.9 for the 120 high hurdles at the Illini Track classic. Team captain Tom Peterson also set a school mark at the Illini meet, when he threw the hammer 168 feet, 5 inches. Overall the tracksters posted a 4-1 dual meet and had four athletes win All-America honors at the U.S. Track and field Fderation Championships. They were Dave Eppley in the javelin, and Pat Rupel, Jeff Ford and Keith Haines, all in the marathon.

Win / Loss / Tie Record:   4 / 1 / 0

 

Varsity Coach Junior Varsity Coach Team Captain Officer Representative
Arne Arnesen Capt Robert Lambert Thomas Peterson Maj Norman Roderick

 


 

Athletic Awards and Honors

A dozen Falcon athletes won All-America  honors, headed by pistol and outdoor track with four apiece. Pistol’s Stan Siefke won a national individual title and All-America honors along with Chris Goetsch, Bob Kleinhaus and Joseph Zahrobsky. Track All-Americas included Dave Eppley in the javelin and Pat Rupel, Jeff Ford and Keith Haines in the marathon. Others winning All-America honors were Dave Lawson in football, Bob Orwig in wrestling, Rick McAlister in swimming and Len Salvemini in soccer.

Several of the above athletes were repeaters. McAlister was named an All-America for the third straight year while Goetsch and Salvemini garnered All-America recognition twice.

Offensive tackle Joe Debes was named to the Academic All-America university division football team for the second straight year.

Twleve Academy athletes were selected for the 1975 edition of the Outstanding College Athletes of America. They were selected for a number of criteria, including leadership, service, scholarship and outstanding athletic achievement. Selected were seniors Bruce Edstrom, gymnastics; Karl Gabrys, fencing; Dan Kraft, basketball; Rick McAlister, swimming; Dick McIntosh, track; Gerry Micheletti, ice hockey; Kip Peterson, lacrosse; Tom Peterson, track; Ben Phillips, water polo; Len Salvemini, soccer; Terry Young, football and junior Jeff Brown, baseball.

 

Most Valuable Player Awards

Gerry Micheletti, an outstanding defenseman on the ice hockey team for four years took top honors at the 20th annual Athletic Awards Banquet, when he was named the Academy’s Most Valuable Athlete. He also was selected as the Most Valuable Ice Hockey Player.

Rick McAlister also received two awards – Athletic Excellence and the Most Valuable Swimmer Award.

Other seniors receiving special awards included Larry Bryant who received the Scholar Athlete Award. A three-year letterman on the baseball team, he compiled a 3.95 cumulative grade point average in a Mathematics Major. The Athletic Leadership Award went to Mike Mark. A three-year tailback and defensive back, Mark also was selected as the Most Valuable Football Back. Another double award winner was Len Salvemini, who received a special award for his four years of Academy athletic competition as well as being selected the Most Valuable Soccer Player for the second time.

Sport Winner
Baseball Jeff Brown ('76)
Basketball Dan Kraft
Cross Country Pat Rupel
Fencing Russ Newland
Football  
     Most Valuable Player Bob Farr
     Most Valuable Back Mike Mark
     Most Valuable Lineman Terry Young
Golf Jeff Sogard ('76)
Gymnastics Bruce Edstrom
Ice Hockey Gerry Micheletti
Lacrosse Kip Peterson
Pistol Stan Siefke
Rifle Joe O'Brien
Soccer Len Salvemini
Tennis Steve Skidmore ('76)
Track  
     Most Valuable Runner Dick McIntosh
     Most Valuable Competitor Mark Modrich
Water Polo Ben Phillips
Wrestling Bob Orwig

– From Offical USAFA History

 


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